University of Wyoming signing day

Senior Lesly Garcia smiles Thursday after signing her commitment letter during the University of Wyoming signing day at Jackson Hole High School. Garcia is the first member of her family to attend college and is planning to study dental hygiene.

University of Wyoming-bound Broncs celebrated their official commitment to attend the school in the fall at a signing day ceremony Thursday.

“We are honored today to recognize over 44 students who are officially signing, out of 73 that were accepted,” Jackson Hole High School principal Scott Crisp told an auditorium packed with parents, graduating seniors, and juniors looking to be inspired.

In front of a huge projected bucking bronc, the high school band blared the “Cowboy Joe” fight song as alumni in the audience stood, clapped and sang along. University of Wyoming president Laurie Nichols made the trek from Laramie to welcome the incoming students to the “University of Wyoming family,” offering advice to students leaving home for the first time.

“College will afford you a level of autonomy like you’ve really never experienced up until this point in your life,” Nichols said. “Embrace those new freedoms and responsibilities, because remember, now you have to do things for yourself, including your own laundry.”

Nichols encouraged the seniors to use their time at University of Wyoming to explore and learn about themselves and their interests, but also enjoy their four years and have fun. Not only did she recommend students take their time to settle on a major, but Nichols also suggested they go to the football games, learn to swing dance and try downtown Laramie restaurants.

“You are making a very wise and a life-changing decision,” she said. “I think it’ll be one of the very best decisions you’ll ever make in your life.”

With that, forty-some high school students were called up to the stage to applause and fanfare, where they signed commitment letters to attend the university in the fall as part of the class of 2023, as Nichols proudly placed prairie gold and brown hats in front of each.

An alumni himself, social studies teacher Jim Rooks also delivered a rousing send-off, leading the future college students in a historical University of Wyoming battle cry, “Powder River, Let ’er Buck.”

“When a cowboy or cowgirl would say ‘Powder River,’ it means they’re getting ready to do something courageous and dangerous,” Rooks said. Let ’er buck, he said, means “we got your back.” He said the saying is a metaphor for going to college and the “community rallying behind you and letting you know we got your back.”

“People equate it to spurring a horse, taking the leap, taking the risk,” Rooks said. “Adopt that attitude. Getting out and getting involved with the university community. Get up early and be the first to class. Get down there and get ’er done, folks.”

Contact Allie Gross at 732-7063 or

Allie Gross covers Teton County government. Originally from the Chicago area, she joined the News&Guide in 2017 after studying politics and Spanish at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

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